Just like most states, West Virginia is also a fault state. This means that the driver who is at fault for the accident is required to pay for the losses (injuries and vehicle damage).
This is why the state requires its motorists to have some type of vehicle insurance. The various categories of vehicle insurance differ according to the amount of coverage they provide. The state, however, requires that you have at least the minimum car liability insurance.
This article will discuss auto insurance laws in West Virginia:
Mandatory insurance requirements
For your West Virginia minimum auto insurance policy to be considered valid, it needs to contain at least four different types of vehicle insurance coverage with minimum limits. They include bodily injury, property damage, bodily injury for uninsured motorist and uninsured motorist property damage. Let us look at them in detail:
- Bodily Injury: This is a type of auto liability insurance that covers the financial consequences that arise when you cause an accident, e.g. hospital bills and damage to their vehicle. The minimum policy for a bodily injury coverage usually covers up to $25,000 per person injured, and in the event that multiple people were injured, it covers no more than $50,000 for the entire accident. It can also cover your lawyer fees if the matter goes to court.
- Property Damage: This is a type of vehicle liability insurance that pays for the damage that resulted from the accident you caused. The minimum limit for property damage insurance covers up to $25,000 of the entire damage caused. This means that if the total damage costs exceed $25,000, you will have to pay the rest from your pocket.
- Uninsured Motorists Bodily Injured (UMBI): If you get into an accident caused by another person and they happen to be uninsured, it means that they will not be able to pay for your medical bills and other associated expenses. This is why a UMBI is so important. If such an event occurs, your insurer will cover those bills for you. The minimum limit for UMBI is $25,000 for one person and $50,000 for the entire accident.
- Uninsured Motorists Property Damage (UMPD): If you get into an accident as a result of someone else's actions, get your vehicle damaged, and they happen not to be insured, UMPD will pay for these costs. The most basic coverage pays up to $25,000.
Even though the minimum policy is legal and the most affordable, it is quite risky. This is because if the financial responsibilities that accompany the accident exceed your coverage's limits, you will have to finance the rest from your own pocket.
Penalties for driving uninsured
All motorists in West Virginia must show proof of insurance whenever asked by the relevant authorities. The state has an electronic insurance verification system that tracks insurance policies. Insurers constantly report changes such as lapses or cancellations so that the system remains up-to-date.
Even though police officers have access to the system, a driver should still carry their proof of insurance. Failure to provide that document can result in a number of penalties, including:
- Vehicle registration suspension. If the driver finally shows their proof of insurance, a $100 dollar reinstatement fee will be required in addition to $50 fee if your plate was confiscated.
- Suspension of driving privileges.
- Depending on the verdict of the criminal court, one may pay other hefty fines (up to thousands of dollars) or even do jail time.
Every subsequent offense calls for increasingly harsh penalties
Auto insurance is of absolute importance to anyone who has a vehicle. In addition to helping you take care of unexpected bills in case of an accident, it can pay for your bills as well if the other party is not able to. Are you looking for auto insurance in West Virginia? Contact us here, and we will be glad to help.